Subject: What’s this caterpillar?
Location: Croton on Hudson NY 10520
August 23, 2014 10:24 am
Dear Bugman,
I found Whiskers (that’s his name) at the playground in Croton-on-Hudson, NY on August 23 2014 at 1:00pm (approximately). If you look past his fuzz it looks like he has lots of little black spots on his body, but otherwise he’s pale yellowish white with a brownish red head and a lot of tufts – the ones in the front are brownish red like his face and they are yellowish white towards the end of him.
I love him!
What’s this big? –Tristan Age 7
Signature: Tristan, Age 7

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Triatan,
Your caterpillar is a Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Halysidota harrisii, and you can read more about it on BugGuide.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Burying Beetle?
Location: Just south of Louisville, KY
August 22, 2014 10:40 pm
I found this guy (3/4 inch?) in my house. In trying to find out what it was I decided it must be a Nicrophorus pustulatus and ran into your website in researching it. Sadly, he or she seems to have expired over-night and my daughter threw it out in the morning. (It did have a pungent smell!) I live in Bullitt county KY on 10 acres and we have always had large(7-8 ft) rat snakes around. I haven’t seen any this year….might there be a cause and effect relationship between not seeing the usual snakes and seeing one of these beetles?
How efficient are they at finding clutches of eggs and do they also attack hibernating adult snakes? (Or sleeping humans?) Do snakes leave the area if they are around or have they been killed off by them?
Any info would be appreciated.
Signature: Dan

Pustulated Carrion Beetle

Pustulated Carrion Beetle

Dear Dan,
You are correct that this is
Nircrophorus pustulatus, the Pustulated Carrion Beetle, which we confirmed on BugGuide.  We would not have thought that Pustulated Carrion Beetles would have a negative impact on the rat snakes in your area, but according to BugGuide:  “Also reported to parasitize the eggs of Black Rat Snakes, Elaphe obsoleta (Blouin-Demers & Weatherhead 2000, Trumbo 2009).”

Pustulated Carrion Beetle

Pustulated Carrion Beetle

 

Subject: Sphinx Moth ?
Location: Middle Tennessee
August 23, 2014 10:46 am
My husband spotted this at work. I was sure it was a type of Sphinx Moth until I looked on your site and saw the others did not have long antennas. Can you enlighten me on what type of moth this may be?
Signature: Sarah P.

Elm Sphinx

Elm Sphinx

Hi Sarahm
This appears to us to be an Elm Sphinx or Four Horned Sphinx,
Ceratomia amyntor.  You can read more about the Elm Sphinx on the Sphingidae of the Americas website where it states:  “Ceratomia amyntor adults fly as a single brood in a wide variety of forested and open habitats in the northern portions of their range from June-July. There are two broods further south, and Vernon A. Brou confirms five broods in Louisiana from March-October.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth
Location: San Fernando, CA
August 22, 2014 5:31 pm
Friend found this in his home in San Fernando, CA. It’s huge
Signature: J Lytle

Black Witch

Black Witch

Dear J Lytle,
This impressive moth is a Black Witch, and they are found in the American neotropics.  They are a common species in Mexico and each year at the end of summer, individuals fly north, some reaching as far north as Alaska.  Though they are unable to naturalize in the northern climes, larvae have been found in Southern California, though most sightings in the continental US are of migrants.  This individual is a male Black Witch.

Thanks so much for the information. I have a copy of Hogue’s Insects of the LA Basin, and the Black Witch photo didn’t look like this, but all your sources do!
Best,
Jeanie Lytle

The illustration in Hogue is a female Black Witch.

Subject: Beetle with False Eyes?
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
August 22, 2014 7:26 pm
This tiny critter is eating my butterfly bush. But I guess nobody will be eating him because he seems to be flying the jolly roger on his butt. False eyes?
Signature: Joanne

Red Megacerus

Red Megacerus

Dear Joanne,
This lovely beetle really threw us for us for a momentary loop, because the body resembles that of a Scarab Beetle, but the antennae are decidedly un-Scarab-like.  We quickly identified this Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae as
Megacerus discoidud thanks to Beetles of Eastern North America, the new book by Arthur V. Evans.  According to BugGuide:  “This handsome species with its quadrate, red elytral maculae can hardly be mistaken for any other eastern American bruchid.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Adults are commonly found on flowers of many plant species” and “Host plants: Calystegia spp.; Convolvulus arvensis; Ipomoea spp. Flowers of Daucus carota and Hibiscus sp.” 

Leaf Beetle:  Red Megacerus

Leaf Beetle: Red Megacerus

Thanks for the speedy reply!
Mystery solved…
Joanne Pasieka
Ottawa, ON

 

Subject: Bot Fly Larva
Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
August 21, 2014 10:25 pm
Hi there,
I am located in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. I have recently found a mouse inside my house walking around pretty slowly. I put gloves on and picked him up to put him outside and when I looked at him I saw a weird brown thing protruding from his side. Upon closer examination I determined it was alive and I recognized it as a bot fly larva that I had read about online a while ago while researching animal parasites. I pulled it out carefully with tweezers, plus about 5 other ones. They were quite large. I have a video of this extraction. I estimate the larger ones were roughly 3cm, maybe slightly larger. Definitely matched the description of rodent bot fly larva. I kept the mouse in a container and fed him until his wounds healed and let him go.
A couple days later (before I let the other mouse go) I was cleaning out and removing a big work tent that was in our backyard that had been used for our house renovations. It was damp, lots of wood scraps etc. I emptied a basket of garbage wood and a mouse emerged from the stuff I was dumping. He was slow and you could actually see two huge bot flies hanging out of him. Very disturbing.
Due to the fact that I have worked extensively in that gross work tent, plus the other mouse was found in our house full of the parasites, some serious questions have come up.
Firstly, how concerned should I be regarding bot fly infections on/in me or my two cats? Is there something I should be looking for on the three of us (obviously a gross black worm thing, but I would prefer to catch it waaaay before that).
Secondly, is this normal??? Are bot flies common this far north? Should I be reporting this, and if so, then to who?
Lastly, how do I avoid coming into contact with the eggs? Are there common types of material they are laid on or environments I could perhaps minimize in order to dissuade them from being laid near my house?
Thank you for your help with this.
Signature: Kate Griese

Bot Fly Larva

Bot Fly Larva

Dear Kate,
Thank you for your thorough and engaging request.  You are correct that this is the larva of a Rodent Bot Fly.  A link from that posting is no longer valid, however we did quote from what might have been the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University which stated:  “
Cuterebra is a normal bot fly of rodents and rabbits, but can also infect cats, dogs, and man. “  This online library seems to support that cats can become hosts to Rodent Bot Fly larvae.  Companion Animal Parasite Council indicates:  “Cats and dogs are accidental hosts.”  VCA Animal Hospitals indicates:  “Cats are accidental hosts of Cuterebra larvae. They are most commonly infected when they are hunting rodents or rabbits and encounter the botfly larvae near the entryway to a rodent’s burrow. Most cases of warbles in cats occur around the head and neck.”  BugGuide data on sightings indicates that you are in the normal range for Rodent Bot Flies.  We believe it is highly unlikely that a human will be parasitized by a Rodent Bot Fly.  We will attempt additional research on this when time permits.